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Negative thoughts..

I saw a stat once that some 66% of our self talk thoughts (that voice in our head) is negative! If you think it, you will be it!

Here’s a little tidbit to help alleviate and be more positive: Negative Thoughts

 

 

Tapering?

There are a few different theories on taper and it’s something we screw up pretty easily. Many people complain that the Hanson Methods don’t allow a taper, which I don’t agree with. We do taper, We just don’t follow a plan that takes drastic measures. Tangent: I feel that those who have to make severe cuts to their training will often have to, in order to compensate for a training segment that was too long, too intense, or both.

Back on topic:

The point is that we often mess the taper up and we over-think it. Here’s a good blog post from Steve Magness that supports our ideals and can maybe explain it better than I can alone:

Hansons Half Marathon Method: Ebook style!

Hey All! As soon as HHMM was released, people were asking about ebook versions. Well, guess what? I have a few links for you who were holding out for the digital copies:

 

Available EBOOKS

 

KINDLE: http://www.amazon.com/Hansons-Half-Marathon-Method-Your-Best-ebook/dp/B00JV2H5I8/

 

NOOK: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hansons-half-marathon-method-luke-humphrey/1117074151?ean=9781937715199

 

KOBO: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/books/hansons-half-marathon-method/

 

Apple: Still waiting

 

 

Do you load up antioxidants?

Keeping up with research is tough, but luckily the twitterverse makes it a little easier if you follow the right people. This little tidbit came across this morning and I had a chance to read through: Vitamin C and E supplementation

Recently, there has been increasingly more evidence that taking mega doses of antioxidants like vitamins C and E can actually hinder your hard earned aerobic adaptations. In fact I think I’ve seen a few people posting things about what’s true and what’s not. Anyway, here’s a easy breakdown of what this article found:

  • supplementation blunted certain protein up regulations that typically occur with training BUT training induced improvements  in VO2max and running performance were not altered.
  • However, these proteins being depressed could contribute to blunted mitochondrial growth. This, we know, would not be good! Keep in mind that this study was done over 11 weeks, which simply may not be enough time to show what happens long term. We know it takes years to develop our aerobic systems and a several week study just can’t represent long term effects. Imagine taking a huge dose of vitamin C several days a week over several years? It’s a very possible scenario.
  • Also, gened expression of certain signalling proteins were depressed, BUT capillarisation and stress proteins were not altered. I would consider what we just discussed in this case too.

Another study didn’t show any alterations, but the primary difference was the amount of vitamin C given. In the study that showed no “depression” in activity involved daily doses of 500 mg/day, whereas the current study used 1000 mg/day. Also, the previous study didn’t look at the same markers. The markers observed in the current study are directly related to the state of mitochondrial growth.

The bottom line is to be careful. People take these antioxidants to recover faster, but if you potentially blunt the growth of mitochondria, then it doesn’t particularly matter is you are recovered! Honestly, it simply shows that more is not always better- just like a lot of running related topics.

My 2 cents- Luke

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hanson’s Philosophy

PlayPlay

This consists of what I would describe as the pillars of the Hanson philosophy. While we do certainly go into length in our books, it is so important for anyone that is using the system, or even thinking about the system to have a full understanding of why the training is the way it is. Ok, so let’s just jump right in!

What is our goal with marathon training? Well, yes, it is to finish as strongly as possible. Thanks to all the smarties out there 🙂 Let me rephrase, what is our end goal from a training standpoint? From the Hanson view it is to develop a high level of marathon readiness through the concept of cumulative fatigue.

Cumulative Fatigue: The development of fatigue through the long term effects of training which results in in a profound increase in running strength. In other words, it’s not one workout that makes you tired. Not one sticks out as being “the one” but rather you are fatigued/tired from the daily grind. The important aspect here is that you aren’t training too hard so that you are in a hole that you can’t get out of. And there it is, how do we train hard, but avoid overtraining. Well, Charlie, let’s find that golden ticket!

How to adjust for injury or illness

The question of how to adjust a workout due to injury or illness comes up fairly frequently. There are some easily solved iterations of this problem, for example, if someone has the flu or a stress fracture. The difficulty comes on the days where one knows they are able to physically exert themselves, but aren’t sure if what they can do is what they should do with respect to the overall good of the training segment. The goal is to maximize the fitness gains without making things worse (or preventing them from getting better).

Assuming some kind of running is both possible and unlikely to make things worse, there are still decisions to be made on what type of running should be performed. The Hansons training philosophy, like most training philosophies,  puts a high premium on aerobic development, so this component of the workout is preserved first. The next aspect of the workout to be preserved relates to the purpose of the workout – what the workout is trying to accomplish. If run at the correct intensities, the difference between [3 x Mile @ 7:00 with 400m jog] and a roughly equivalent fartlek such as [3 x 7 minutes “ON”/2 minutes “OFF”] is negligible and the objective of the workout is achieved in either case.

Those who are able to successfully select the best adjustment usually have a high level of running related self-awareness. The more honest and logical one can be when making the decision, the higher the success rate will be. Choosing to go ahead with the full workout when it will inevitably make your injury worse does little for long term development. Conversely, frequently adjusting workouts to a lesser intensity will require the goals of the training segment to also be adjusted. It is not always easy to make the right adjustment, but this is a skill that is often required to achieve increasingly higher levels of fitness.

Below you’ll find the simple list I use to help athletes determine how we should adjust a workout, hopefully it will provide some guidance to others as well.

– Corey

Choose the option closest to the top that is unlikely to make the situation worse:
1. Full workout, just as prescribed
2. Full workout, but translated to its equivalent in effort-based terms
(For example, instead of 10 x 400m with 400m rest, do something like 10 x 2mins ON/3mins OFF)
3. Full scheduled volume for the day, but modified workout
(either slower paces or less hard running volume)
4. Full scheduled volume for the day, no workout just easy mileage
5. Easy run, less volume than prescribed
6. Cross-training + core work
7. Core work
8. Rest

 

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Training, Overtraining, and Fighting Injury

First off, since I have written a couple books for VeloPress, I am fortunate to get their new titles when I see one that interests me. What a great deal, right!? The only problem is, I rarely have time to read everything that I either receive or purchase. Great intentions, but then I usually just fall asleep. For some reason, toddlers will do that to you…

However, I have been getting through Sage Rountree’s book The Athlete’s Guide to Recovery and found a great little chart to answer guide those always asking the question: How do you know when you are sore or injured? So, here is a constructed verion of Table 5.1 on page 49 of the book:

  • Normal Soreness
  • On both sides of the body
  • Felt in the center of the muscle
  • Appears after a change in workout intensity, duration, or modality
  • Improves after warm up
  • Improves daily
  • Doesn’t affect your form
  • Generalized
  • Warning Sign
  • On one side of the body
  • Felt toward a joint
  • Appears daily
  • Worsens during a workout
  • Worsens or remains daily
  • Affects your form
  • Localized

When you are training hard, you are bound to develop soreness as you take your body past it’s comfort zone. I think this chart is a good way to keep an eye on yourself and whether you are training hard, or beginning to cross that line into becoming injured. The trick is, to be honest with yourself and if something is a pinpoint injury in your shin (which is a high liklihood of a stress fracture) don’t try to lie to yourself and say it’s probabably tendonitis! Trust me I know we do it, and I have done it tons of times. It just never ends up working in our favor. More times than not, we just make the recovery time longer by delaying the right treatment.

Now, on the other hand, some of us are just searching for reasons to take a day off. This chart may take away some of those reasons 🙂 For those of you who I have coached or answered questions regarding this topic, know that I don’t just tell a person to take a day off. Time off won’t matter if we don’t fix the problem. If we can figure out the problem while backing down our training, we can back off from the warning signs, but still be running. This will allow for a much fuller recovery, rather than just waiting for time to catch back up to us after a few days off.

So, when something is rearing it’s injury prone head, remember this chart and use it to guide what you do next. Thanks for reading this and look forward to some later blog posts and maybe even a podcast, or something crazy like that!

Good Running,

-Luke

 

My winter marathon experience: near debacle to salvation

I’ve been running marathons for some time now, for about a decade. However, since 2011, running has been tough. I broke my foot and femur, dropped out of the US Olympic Trials, and just struggled overall to get my own running back on track.

My femoral stress fracture was in June of 2013, just when I thought I had figured out what my problem was. It just shows that sometimes you gotta ride out the storm, even if it seems like it will never end! Long story short, it healed and we (my coaches and I ) started to try again. However, in order to move forward, I had to accept my diminished capacity and basically start over. So the plan was to build my mileage, do reduced workouts, and stay healthy! The Chicago marathon ended up being my goal focus for the fall, not to race rather pace my teammate mike Morgan as far as possible. I was able to take him through 14 miles at 5:05-5:06 pace so it was a success. There was improvement, consistent training, and I was healthy!

After a lot of thought and discussion with my coaches, we decided to continue to build on the momentum and train for the next marathon that made sense- Houston in January. We thought we’d be ok, because December is usually still pretty decent here in southeast Michigan. Of course, this would be the winter of the Polar Vortex.

Training for Houston went really well, until December 23. Then the “avalanche” opened up. I remember the day because it was the day of my Simulator workout (26.2 km at goal MP). We drove to the course where I was going to run, only to find it a sheet of black ice. For those of you who don’t know what black ice is, it’s basically asphalt that is frozen, but it looks like it’s just the road. Talk about a work hazard. So throwing up a Hail Mary, we drove to a parking lot loop about 20 minutes away. Luckily the loop was clear and the biggest workout of my segment could take place. It was cold and windy, but it had to be done. There really wasn’t any wiggle room on this one with Christmas and the travel to different places coming up. So, we did it and for about 18km, it went really quite well. The last 8km though, was a completely different story. Everything caught up to me and I am pretty sure I ran 6:00 miles for the last few km’s. However, I finished it and thought I would shake it off.

From that afternoon, of December 23, all the way to the afternoon of the 29th, I felt off. Not really too sick, but off. When my family and I got home from my parents house on the 29th, it was like somebody flipped a switch. I was down for the count. Over the next three days I thought it was all over. I lost nearly 10 pounds, was malnourished and dehydrated. To add to the scenario, it was the coldest air temperatures I had ever been in (below zero before the windchill) and the snowiest/iciest since I have lived in the Detroit area. “Great” I thought. Here we go again.

So, December was finally over and January blew in with a direct northerly wind, straight from Santa’s workshop. After regaining some strength, I decided I was sticking to the treadmill for the few days before I left to finally get to Florida. When I got to the Sunshine State, it was like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders- literally, because I didn’t have to run in my snowmobile suit! Seriously though, it was a game changer. My mood lifted and runs were instantly easier. I was convinced that I could now at least have a same day finish at Houston.

When I got to Houston I was in a precarious position. I was really fit at the beginning of December, but with everything that had happened, who knew anymore. Kevin and I talked for about 5 minutes at 5:30 AM on Sunday. The basic conclusion was to err on the side of caution. To the athlete’s I coach- I followed my own advice I always give you. I was at a point where if I were going to have a successful day (which at this point meant to a) finish and b) get an Olympic Trials standard out of the way) then I had to put myself in a good position at half way. What I mean by that is to a) be fast enough to even have a chance at a Trials standard and b) to be slow enough to have the opportunity to at least maintain my pace.

The morning was perfect- about 50 degrees, some sun, and barely a breeze. The course is very nice. Pretty flat, but a few little rollers in the second half. I actually prefer this because it breaks it up a little and they aren’t significant enough to really take anything out of you! I was lucky enough to find myself immediately in a small pack. Fortunately,one was a former Hanson’s-Brooks teammate and an athlete I coach, Tim Young. It was the perfect scenario for me!

The first half was low key and uneventful. I was completely able just zone out and wait until I absolutely needed to focus on the race. My 5k splits were 16:08 (5k) 16:12 (10k) 15:58 (15k) and 1:07:56 at the halfway mark. Tim and I came through the halfway mark and I said, “Well Tim, the good news is that we can run 1:10 for the next half and still qualify!” He laughed, and said, “Thanks, boss.” By then our group was down to 3 guys and the group ahead of us was feeling the consequences of going out way too hard for where they were at, fitness wise. Again, it was a perfect scenario.

Tim and I continued on, though I had to keep calming Tim down. He was really fit and itching to make a go for it. I held him back because I had ruined a lot of my own potentially amazing races between miles 14 and 20. We kept right at pace with 16:05 and 16:08 5k splits.

At this point, between 35 and 40 kilometers, I slowed down. It was my slowest split of 16:28 for that 5k. I’m not really sure what happened. I was feeling it, for sure. There’s no real way to completely avoid that feeling of, “oh man, I still have a ways to go.” However, I didn’t crumble. Mentally, I was still making coherent thoughts to myself, but I panicked a little bit. It had been so long since I had run a marathon that I just forgot how that feeling is.

What really surprised me is how I reacted. I really thought I would have caved in a little bit, but  I didn’t! I saw some of those guys coming back that had went too hard. I was catching them still and I used that to regroup. Looking at my splits, the last half mile was under 5:00 pace! I knew I was a little slow, but I knew I still had a good one going. I just had to keep it together and finish as strong as possible.

I crossed the line and sae 2:16:3x. It wasn’t my fastest time, but it was a race I could be proud of! It was a testament to just staying the course and doing what you can. It was a time that qualified me for my 3rd US Olympic Trials and a time that motivated me. It convinced me that I am still at a high level and there’s so much room for improvment. This race made me so excited for the next few years. I can’t wait to be in LA in February of 2016!

 

The Boston clinic that never was…

Hey Everyone,

Here’s the video of the presentation I was going to make for the Boston Marathon and training.

Attached is the .pdf file of the Powerpoint and notes: Running your best Boston Marathon

 

Caffeine: Diuretic?

For those who drink caffinated drinks and use caffeine tablets during the marathon:http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0084154

The primary finding is that if you are a caffeine user, your urine production is not higher and drinking coffee, as an example, can actually still count as part of your hydration strategy. Of course, this means using moderation.

Hot Topic 9/20/2013- diet trends

Ok, so I was going to do a Hot Topic on tapering, but I have been working on the nutrition chapter of my forthcoming half marathon book. I was looking over the chapter I wrote for Hansons Marathon Method as well as, doing some casual research in current trends. One thing that struck me was the growing popularity of high fat, low(er) carb diets and endurance athletes. I shook my head at a lot of it, but some of it makes sense.

Forgive me if my details aren’t exact but here’s basically what I know about high fat/low carbs and general eating habits.

1) The idea is that we eat too much carbs (true, but misleading) and that the excess carbs we eat are turned into fat. That part is also true. However, Americans eat way too much crappy carbs- pop, candy, starch, processed junk. That we know. What we don’t eat enough of is fruits, veggies, high fiber carbs. So, while we do eat too much of the crappy carbs, we don’t eat enough of the good carbs. So all that junk is not used and absolutely does turn into fat.

2)  If you eat too much fat, it doesn’t have to convert to anything, it just has to get stored!

3) High fat/low carb has been shown people to lose weight in the SHORT TERM. There isn’t a lot of evidence of long term maintenance.

4) You have to replace what you burn. Unless you train at a fast walk, you are burning both fat and carbs. You have theoretically unlimited stores of fat, while your carb stores can vanish within an interval workout. If you don’t replace what you burnt just to get back to baseline, things will not go well after even a few days.

5) If you focus on high quality food and nutritiously dense food, these things balance themselves out. That means eat lean sources of protein,  eat your fruits and veggies, and stay away from fatty/greasy crap as much as you can. If you can do that, you can take a lot of the guesswork out of your diet.

Feel free to discuss your thoughts below. Better yet, if you have had experiences to share, please do!

 

Luke